3D filament can be expensive, so it is essential to know how to calculate the amount of filament used on a print job and what factors influence the amount of filament used. So how much filament does a 3D printer use on average?
A 3D printer uses on average between 5.5 g and 25 g of filament an hour. The exact amount of filament used depends on the speed of the printer, the infill percentage, the size of the model, and the complexity of the model. A 1kg filament spool will last anywhere between 180 and 40 hours of printing.
I did some testing to see how much filament is used on different printers with different print settings and here is what I found.
A full guide on how expensive 3D printing is and how to calculate the price of a single 3D print can be found here.
Filament Usage of a Regular 3D Printer
A regular 3D printer uses between 5.5 g and 7 g of filament per hour. So a 1kg spool of filament will last around 180 to 160 hours of nonstop printing on average.
I define a “regular printer” as a printer that is similar to an Ender 3 or a Prusa MK3. Printers of that build type are readily available and can be bought for as little as 120$ (Ender 3).
These printers can produce very good results but are generally not as fast as other, more modern printers.
For my tests, I printed a regular Benchy (a well-known 3D model of a small ship) with 15% infill and 0.16 mm layer height (fairly normal printing settings).
I printed one Benchy on the Neptune 3 from Elegoo and it used about 12.45 g of filament for the entire print.
The print took just under 2.5 hours.
The Neptune 3 has a print speed of 60 mm/s. Most printers in this category have similar print speeds like the Ender 3, Ender 3 neo, Prusa Mk3, Sovol SV1 Pro, and so on.
So printers like these will use between 5.5 g and 7 g of filament per hour on average.
Filament Usage of a Fast Core XY Printer
Core XY printers like the Bambu lab P1P or the Voron 2.4 will use between 20 g and 25 g per hour while printing.
Core XY printers are much faster than regular 3D printers. Core XY means that they have two motors that control the print head via two belts. This means that no additional motor is on the print head itself and the print head can be moved much faster.
The amount of filament used for the model stays pretty much the same but the speed at which the model is being printed is significantly faster.
This is why the consumption of filament per hour is so much higher compared to regular 3D printers.
Here you can see that the same 3D Benchy as before only needs 48 minutes to print and uses 11.30 g of filament.
Meaning the Bambu Lab P1P uses between 20 g and 25 g of filament per hour while printing.
Again, the exact number might vary depending on the type of filament, the printer, the speed, the amount of infill, the type of infill, and more.
How Much Can you Print with a 1 kg Filament Spool?
This question is easy and hard to answer at the same time. You can print 1 kg worth of stuff with it. But it might be hard for you to visualize how much stuff that actually is. So here is a more precise answer.
As a whole, a 1 kg spool of filament will last between 180 and 40 hours of pure printing time. The model can be loaded in a 3D slicer like “Prusa Slicer” to see how much filament the print will use. This number is fairly accurate.
So if you want to know how much filament a model will take then you can do the following:
- Download the Prusa Slicer right here and install it.
- Open the Prusa Slicer and add your 3D printer. You can add a new 3D printer by clicking “Configuration” in the top bar and then clicking on “Configuration Wizard”. Choose the manufacturer of the 3D printer that you want to add and select the printer. Follow the on-screen instructions and finally press “Finish”.
- Import the 3D model. You can simply import the 3D model by dragging the file into the workspace of the Prusa Slicer or by navigating to “File” and then to “Import”. Finally, choose the correct type of file, most likely .stl, and find your 3D model on your PC. Click Import and the model should be imported momentarily.
- Select the infill amount. Next, you want to select how much infill you want for your Model. 15% is normally enough but functional parts often require a higher infill density. The infill setting is on the right side under the “Supports” option right above the list of models in the scene.
- Press the “slice now” button. Finally, press the “slice now” button on the bottom right of the slicer. Slicing the model might take a while depending on your settings and the model itself.
- Take a look at the info panel to see filament usage. Once the slicer is done a info panel will appear in the left top corner. This panel will tell you how long the print will take and how much filament it will use.
Here is a screenshot of the slicer after it is done slicing with the info panel open.
You can use this method to fairly accurately calculate the amount of filament used during each print.
Hi, I am a passionate maker and professional prop maker for the entertainment industry. I use my woodworking, programming, electronics, and illustration know-how to create interactive props and puzzles for Escape Games and marketing agencies. And I share my knowledge and my experience on this blog with you so that you can become a maker yourself.